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Bookshots: a different kind of zombie story

Lesser Creatures - Peter Giglio

Title:

 

Lesser Creatures

 

Who Wrote it?

 

Pushcart prize nominee and Horror Writers Association member, Peter Giglio.

 

Plot in a Box:

 

The dead are coming back to life, but they don't want to eat your brain, they want to destroy the economy.

 

Invent a New Title for this Book:

 

Dole of the Dead

 

Read This If You Like:

 

Handling the Undead, They Came Back, The Returned

 

Meet the Book's Leads:

 

Monika Janus, who has more self-awareness than your average second-lifer; and Eric Cooper, who was her boyfriend before she died and just so happens to be her new co-worker. Talk about awkward!

 

Said Leads Would Be Portrayed In a Movie By:

 

Sara Paxton, that cutie-patootie from the Innkeepers for Monika; and—I don't know why, but Patrick Warburton as her older, ad-man boyfriend. It just works for me.

 

Setting: Would You Want To Live There?

 

I do not want to live in a world populated by zombies if I am not allowed to kill them videogame style sans repercussion.

 

What Was Your Favorite Sentence?

 

"Grandma hunched in the entryway, her pendulous, decomposing breasts hanging low."

The Verdict:

 

It must be a daunting task to attempt a zombie novel in this day and age, especially if you're trying to do something different. Still, writers continue to rise to the challenge, like the undead from their graves. And just like their decomposed brethren, most of these writers are easily brushed aside without so much as a second thought. It's when they are in large numbers that they are dangerous, wreaking havoc on an already saturated market.

 

There are a few zombie stories that have managed to stand out, however. Namely, the examples listed above. Each one has approached the genre from a more social, moral, or even practical angle than its predecessors. Zombies aren't a threat to human existence, they an emotional and economic burden on their families, and by extension, society as a whole.

 

This is what attracted me to Lesser Creatures. It sounded like it was cut from the same cloth. And to a certain extent it is, although based on the synopsis I was expecting something a bit more satirical. The idea of the undead as social leech is ripe for it. A classic tale of the Haves vs. the Have-nots, detailing the plight of those less fortunate—the second-lifers. Instead, Giglio has chosen to tell a simpler story. I'd almost call it a romantic comedy. I definitely see it appealing more to a YA audience than the hardcore horror crowd. It even has a bit of magical realism thrown in, if you can accept a world populated by the walking dead as "real." The satirical elements are there, but mostly to set up the environment in which the characters interact. It is not the primary concern.

 

Which is fine. Lesser Creatures is still a different type of zombie novel. It was just a different different type of zombie novel than I expected.